024 – Chris Avery of Updater – America’s Favorite Moving App

Updater

UpdaterWhy influential real estate companies offer an invite-only moving app from Updater to clients, delivering huge value during a stressful time…

Chris Avery, VP of Real Estate for Updater (Updater‘s moving app is the smartest and safest way to reserve a moving company, connect TV and internet, update accounts, forward mail, transfer utilities, etc.), joins Thomas Kutzman and guest host Marc Raco in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

In this episode:

  • How Updater is solving a logistical problem
  • Relocation tech
  • Buyers, sellers, renters, branded experience through real estate partners, brands, multi family companies, realtors
  • Automate all moving and related tasks that are all part of a painful experienceUpdater
  • Forwarding mail, subscriptions, and utilities
  • Fostering partnerships, teams of industry experts
  • Doing new things vs. creating new experiences
  • How Updater is paid for, and it doesn’t affect the consumer (free), and the broker or property management company pays for it, as an invite-only platform
  • How the app catalogues everything that moves and event the condition of property
  • Testing new ways to keep consumers engaged in platform even post moveUpdater
  • Providing moving offers with discounts, helpful info etc., coupons
  • Giving the consumer a complete view of a market, not recommending specific purchases, created competition on the platform including ratings and scores
  • Last year nearly 20% of all household moves were processed though Updater
  • A lot of A/B testing and measuring consumer behavior
  • How Updater works to get brokers on board
  • Setting an expectation with the consumer that this is what they should expect of brokers, a kind of seal of approval
  • Incredible donuts that are an Updater favorite
  • How the process works for an agent, and how Updater only works with real estate brokerages that work with one of the tech partners they integrate with
  • Agents/brokers as independent contractors, brokerages don’t require people to use it, running behind the scenes so agent can just decline it
  • Once an agent signs up they don’t have to do anythingUpdater
  • Updater is seamless for the agent, easy deployment, training, and engagement process
  • The ability to stay connected, keeping consumers engaged, bringing value, platform stays open for this reason
  • When Updater decided to IPO on ASX, as the smallest tech company to IPO there, and ultimately one of the most successful to do so
  • Building community with brokers, looking beyond being a mere mechanism to their success
  • Early moving memories, playing The Oregon Trail on early computers, and Seattle

 

023 – Rebecca Fitts of The Wild West of Retail – Apocalypse or Revolution?

Rebecca Fitts

Retail and its effect on real estate…

Rebecca FittsRebecca Fitts, Principal Consultant for The Wild West of Retail (a consultancy focusing on non-traditional retail real estate strategies, brick and mortar customer experience and omni-channel solutions in the physical space) joins Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

In this episode:

  • Is ecommerce causing retauil apolcolypse, or revolution?
  • The many changes going on in retail, surplus of retail real estate, need to find way out of that
  • Figure out way that retailers can handle taking on overhead
  • Digitally native brands opening up physical stores, customers want to have a touch/feel experience with brands
  • How a physical store can help reduce amount of returnsRebecca Fitts
  • How there are no “pure plays” anymore
  • Why physical retailers have harder time moving to ecommerce than ecommerce moving physical
  • Westfield’s World  Trade Center Oculus mall, public/private partnership, commuter hub
  • Downtown redeveloping itself post-9/11 in NYC, a great comeback
  • Mixed use of property, the way cities are growing
  • The changing relationship between tenants and landlord, the difficulty of physical spaces taking long term leases
  • An interest in commuter hubs for brandsRebecca Fitts
  • The need for experiences to be dynamic and changing, and are some physical stores too static to adapt?
  • Retail trying to think in a new and different way
  • Advancements in technology allowing you to reconfigure the store more frequently and easily
  • Virtual reality, augmented reality, and smart mirrors allowing great things to be done in the store to expand experiences
  • How Fitts is outgoing and enjoying being in a field that bounces around and changes
  • The kinds of neighborhoods that are attractive to retailers, being loyal to local merchants
  • Some of Fitts’ favorite jewelry designers

 

 

022 – Naman Desai of Quo – Enabling Collaboration and Engagement

Real estate agent + client collaboration platform…

Naman Desai, Co-Founder at Quo (which simplifies real estate agent + client collaboration via a platform and mobile app) joins Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

In this episode:

  • A customer engagement tool that empowered brokers, allowing them to work closer with clients, increasing efficiency
  • How the app allows agents and clients to search and share listings together in one place, as a neat and organized way to keep track of properties they view, with the ability to take notes and store photos, better streamlining the process to make better decisions more quickly
  • Allowing the app to maintain a place as preferred place to engage and track real estate opportunities and clients
  • How Quo gives brokers an app to put in their clients’ hands, positioning the broker as more tech-forward
  • How Quo can help speed up process of scheduling a viewing, with automation, and reduces time lag
  • More feedback opportunities for the client, providing a good data and analytics resource
  • Building out algorithms to suggest properties actively
  • Obvious use case in New York City, but why in Cleveland?
  • Looking to integrate CSS, zero lag time
  • Is the tool more vertical vs. suburban?
  • Markets with a lot of buyer and seller activity
  • How Quo started as a concierge service for renters looking for new apartments
  • How the co-founders realized a lot of people had a similar knack for helping people in the real estate space to help with real estate process; and, as the company grew and looked to scale, it started doing focus groups and one was people helping with what worked for them — and the biggest was when they had a friend that helped them
  • Agents wanted the communication platform, not the concierge service
  • Pivoting to the communication tool
  • Data in which people said what they wanted and so Quo followed it
  • Not so stuck on idea that they wouldn’t listen, letting customers guide where they go
  • Getting consensus on a change in company direction, and how the co-founders were married to solving a problem — not on the way to solve it
  • The importance of continuing focus groups
  • The pushback from brokers — overcoming friction in getting clients to download the app
  • A must-have feature was a team collaboration piece
  • Being comfortable with changes in business, such as pivoting in his previous business ClassPass
  • Real estate as learned behavior vs. in the blood, etc?
  • Taking risk in business and startups
  • How finding one’s passion brings the opportunity to make more than anywhere else by doing what one thinks is right
  • Fear of missing out

021 – Francesca Loftus of hOM – Amenities, Data, and Bouncy Houses

hOM

Developing community with residential and office properties and gathering data by providing technology-enabled amenities for tenants…

hOMFrancesca Loftus, CEO of hOM (technology-enabled amenity provider that partners with residential and office properties to develop community by providing on-site fitness programming and unique events for tenants) joins Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

In this episode:

  • How Loftus became focused on amenities
  • The company’s focus on amenities, especially in commercial buildingshOM
  • The cash outlay to adjust floors is a big step, so offering programming or events in a vacant space or available accessible spaces is a useful alternative
  • The genesis of the idea, two of her cofounders are in fitness and real estate, her background in theater management,
  • Some success because of the proximity of buildings to fitness studios
  • Selling to amenities managers
  • Most managers have tried other things, trying to be on trend with other buildings, then contact them to execute, cant do it themselves
  • Despite offering a wide range, fitness is most requested and engaging, yoga leads that interest
  • The hOM programs are unique and catch people’s attentionhOM
  • Mini golf, bouncy houses, partnerships to execute and deliver in diversity
  • Building community gives an edge for landlords
  • Figuring out a model to provide benefits to fitness instructors, finding it was actually cost effective,
  • Why Loftus was forced to be smarter how running business
  • Utility players with the ability to get anecdotal data on the building, valuable team members but tough to find
  • Looking at people with their whole selves i.e. developers and yoga teacher
  • Listening for grit and experience (28 full time employees and 50 part time)hOM
  • Loftus is from Canada, ended up in New York, from a competitive girls prep school, full college ride in mathematics, wanted to go to NY for theater, ended up managing a theater at 17 years old, having a public facing “beard”, doing a lot of programming work
  • Being curious about everything, having a dual role as performer and manager
  • The kind of culture in the hOM office with meditation and breath-work, the company’s C3P0, rituals in the office
  • Putting a voice to the tenants of buildings, creating incentive to communicate with them and close a gap of communication

020 – Yin Lin of Sage Vacations – Vacation Rentals As a Group Experience

Yin Lin

Short-term vacation rentals for groups…

Yin LinYin Lin, Founder/COE of Sage Vacations (a private real estate company with 10 vacation properties across the country, and partnering with institutions and investors to acquire, develop, and commercialize its property investments) and Founder of SheWorx (global collective of ambitious high-growth female entrepreneurs redefining leadership) joins Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

In this episode:

  • Lin discusses acquiring and commercializing residential property, undervalued property valuesYin Lin
  • Distributing them on short term rental sites
  • Developing a short term rental portfolio.
  • There is a demand for large spaces for groups who cannot get same experience in standard hotel rooms
  • Looking at lesser known cities with high regional tourism, emerging cities
  • The experience of a space needs to be great, and the people feel the sense of community
  • Creating great experiences, and getting buy-in from the community for creating a network
  • Creating more bespoke developments which cater to the needs of the audienceYin Lin
  • How short term rentals have changed the vacation model, and the future of it depends largely on regulation
  • Why professionalism of short-term rentals reduces risk all around
  • How Lin got into the business
  • Part of Lin’s inspiration in building her business and portfolio is wanting to help women build wealth through real estate
  • What marathons have meant to Lin in understanding herself and her potential
  • Running in 5 continents so far, and what about Ironman competitions